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Controversy surrounding CST needless – Andrew Mercer

MP for the Sekondi Constituency, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, has stated that the current controversy surrounding the Communications Service Tax (CST) would not have arisenif there were further and proactive engagements between the Communications Ministry, the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the telecommunication companies.

“I think the Minister of Communication deemed it prudent to ask the NCA because they monitor the telcos to do the right thing. But there probably should have been some more engagement with the telcos since it would have helped in addressing some of these issues that have arisen from the directive. As far as I am concerned, all these problems arising are needless,” he said.

Speaking on the Big Issue on Citi TV, he stated that since the tax being deducted is a consumption one, they [stakeholders] should have come to an agreement as to when it should be deducted.

He stated that it would have been prudent if the stakeholders involved determined the point of deduction of the tax before pushing it to the consumer since, “there is now a grey area in determining whether the point of collection of the tax is supply or usage.”

“When is a Communication Service Charge applicable? Is it at the deposit stage or at the consumption stage? I take the position that those taxes can only be applicable when I am consuming the product because you can’t compel me to consume,” he added.

He also stated that the Ministry should not blame the telcos entirely because when taxes are introduced, the service providers also bear a greater burden.

Following public outcry against the tax, the Communications Ministry issued a directive to the telecommunication companies in the country to cease the instant deduction of the Communications Service Tax also known as Talk Tax.

The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, accused the telecommunications companies of robbing consumers in their implementation of the Communication Service Tax (CST).

She said the telcos deviated from the agreed implementation plan when it shifted the tax to the consumer.

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